ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister and leader of National Assembly Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, while giving peace another chance, asked the terrorists to end acts of violence and come to the negotiating table.
Announcing a four-member committee to head the dialogue, he said “the government would not allow the country to be held hostage by terrorists.”
The Prime Minister referred to the recent wave of terrorist strikes in Bannu, Peshawar, Hangu, attacks on anti-polio workers, media, minorities and religious scholars and said terrorism has no place in Islam, which was a religion of peace and harmony.
“We are under obligation of our religion and the Constitution to safeguard the lives and properties of our citizens at all costs,” he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the entire nation, including all state institutions stand united, if the government decides to react to terrorism with full force.
“Since the other side has shown intent to negotiate, we also wish to give peace yet another chance,” he said.
“However the acts of terror must stop. Terrorism and talks cannot continue simultaneously,” the Prime Minister told the Parliamentarians.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced to set up four-member committee that comprises his Advisor on National Affairs Irfan Siddique, Major (Retd) Aamir, renowned journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai and Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Ambassador to Afghanistan and expert on Afghanistan affairs, who had been nominated by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
The Prime Minister on a proposal by PTI Chief Imran Khan agreed that the dialogue will be held in a transparent and open manner.
He also said that a timeframe for the talks will be decided as these progress.
The Prime Minister said his government was doing all what it could to stop the drone strikes on its soil. However, he said that at the same time there was no justification for continuing the acts of terror, in reaction to the drone strikes.
“Are the innocent children who fall prey to acts of terrorism, or the innocent civilians who die in such attacks are responsible for conducting the drone strikes,” he said.
“Murder of innocent people cannot be tolerated anymore,” he added